When we think about forgiveness, we tend to think about forgiving someone for something they did or said to us. We want to make it right in our own mind, and to help the other person realize that their words or actions hurt us in some way.
Forgiveness comes in many different forms. Forgiving ourselves is often the hardest thing to do. Why is that? It comes down to self worth.
Let’s say that someone did something that really hurt you. Something they may have said or done, and you are feeling angry or bothered by the event. How does this affect you? Think about it for a minute.
The first thing that typically happens is that we try to process what happened. Then we might start to play the blame game. Who is at fault for this? Was it me or was it the other person?
People typically have a hard time accepting that things are their fault. Once we decide where the blame lies, the little voice in our head tends to run wild, creating a false sense of all the things that we could or should have said at the time.
If things get really out of control we may tell ourselves that we are that person that isn’t good enough or that can’t be loved. We all know that these false ideas in our head are not true. They are just things that our mind conjures up based on our belief systems from our past.
4 steps for forgiving others:
- Understand what you’re angry at, what emotion is attached to that, and how you addressed it.
- Decide to forgive the other. It provides a new path forward.
- Reflect on whether the event was intentional or due to other circumstances.
- Release the emotions and look at what you can learn from the experience and forgiveness.
5 steps for forgiving yourself:
- Acknowledge that you are at fault for the event and take responsibility for it.
- Ask why the event happened. What was in your control or out of your control.
- What did you learn from the experience that you don’t want to repeat again?
- Forgive yourself by writing it down and/or telling yourself.
- Sincerely apologize to the affected person for your behaviour.
Holding on to hurt or anger of an event releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is not good for your health. Releasing the flow of those stress hormones can provide positive health benefits such as lowering the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems.
Remember, forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have let the event go. It just means that you have created a pathway to move forward in your own life by releasing the emotions that are attached to it.